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Maternal Depression and Childhood Overweight in the CHAMACOS Study of Mexican-American Children


Objective Although previous studies have examined the impact of maternal depression on child overweight and obesity, little is known about the relationship in Latino families, who suffer from high risks of depression and obesity. We prospectively investigated the association between depressive symptoms in women with young children and child overweight and obesity (overweight/obesity) at age 7 years among Latino families. Methods Participants included 332 singletons with anthropometric measures obtained at 7 years from the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) study, a birth cohort study. Maternal depression was assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale when the children were 1, 3.5, and 7 years. Overweight and obesity was measured by body mass index (kg/m(2)) at age 7 years. Results 63 % of women had CES-D scores consistent with depression in at least one of the 3 given assessments. Compared to children whose mothers were never depressed, children whose mothers were depressed at all three assessments had 2.4 times the adjusted odds of overweight/obesity at age 7 years (95 % CI 1.1-5.6). However, a single positive maternal depression screen was not associated with child overweight/obesity and there was no difference in the odds of overweight/obesity by the age of the child when maternal depression occurred. Conclusion Chronic maternal depression during a child's early life was associated with child overweight/obesity at 7 years. Addressing maternal depression is a critical component of comprehensive obesity prevention and treatment strategies for Latino children.

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